Insiders and Outsiders in International Development Ethics [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 5 (1991)

December 2, 1991

International development ethics is moral reflection on the ends and means of societal and global change. Who should engage in this activity and how should it be done? Should only citizens of a given nation reflect on, and morally evaluate, that country's development goals and strategies? Or do foreigners have a contribution to make as well? Crocker answers these questions by first briefly discussing and critiquing the context within which these questions are frequently debated, namely the ethnocentrism/anti-ethnocentrism and particularism/universalism controversies. He explains the distinction between social insiders and outsiders arguing that in development ethics there are advantages and disadvantages to being both. He urges development ethicists to cultivate a mixture of insider/outsider perspectives, beginning and ending in their own groups, but learning from and benefitting others in the process. Crocker concludes that international and regional progress are closely interrelated. Universalists and ethnocentrists must converge to "think and act globally, regionally, nationally, and locally."


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